Chicago’s Led Zeppelin 2 recreate the sights, sounds and the pure rock 'n' roll euphoria of an early to mid-Seventies Led Zeppelin show.
Resplendent in satin and denim, the band—Bruce Lamont (vocals), Ian Lee (drums), Paul Kamp (guitars) and Matthew Longbons (bass)—delivers the raw energy and dynamics of "Whole Lotta Love,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Kashmir,” “Dazed and Confused” and many more tracks from the legendary U.K. band's studio, live and bootleg recordings.
Today, while the band is hard at work on their “How the Midwest Was Won” tour, we present the exclusive premiere of "Thank You" (Tom Lord Alge Mix)—plus an interview with guitarist Paul Kamp.
You'll find both below.
To find Led Zeppelin 2 on tour, visit ledzeppelin2.com.
How did this Led Zeppelin tribute project get started?
All of us were already involved in very alternative, heavy rock bands. But there was a tradition in Chicago every Halloween where certain bands would get together and cover another more famous band, and we got involved with that a few times.
Then after Jim DeRogatis, a rock writer from Chicago, wrote a book about Lester Bangs, who had written about everyone back in the day for Rolling Stone and Hit Parader, he asked us to play at one of his book signings. Bangs’ favorite band was Black Sabbath, so we decided to do a Sabbath set. A few years later, there was another opportunity.
Then after the third year, we got into the rehearsal room and started doing Led Zeppelin songs. The appealing thing about Zeppelin was their broad range of dynamics and styles—the modes and how they switched between electric and acoustic. It became a project we would do a few times a year. That’s when people started telling us to take it to the next level. So we started getting more elaborate with the costumes, guitars and equipment and got to the point where we could play pretty much anything.
How much of an influence did Led Zeppelin have on you as a guitarist?
A lot. Even when I was listening to them as a kid, there was something about Zeppelin that seemed to have some logic to it. There was a mystical aura about the tone of the music; the way it was recorded and the way it sounded when it came through the speakers. Even in the way the band interacted with each other onstage.
What are some of the secrets you’ve learned about getting the Led Zeppelin sound?
I had switched to using lighter-gauge strings after a mishap I had while working on a sailboat and having to do long three-step bends in the solos. Tone-wise, the lighter strings on the guitar work better for Zeppelin. All of my gauges are custom: regular, light and super light. I was also able to luck into getting a mid-Seventies Marshall JMP and had a good tech who built amps and tweaked the parts and components.
Have you encountered any of the guys from the real Led Zeppelin?
We have not, although we do know people who know them and are reasonably certain they may have seen us on the Internet. We’re content to keep trudging on our own path, but if we do have a chance to cross paths, it would be an absolute dream.
What can fans expect from the band’s current tour?
We decided to call this the “How the Midwest Was Won" tour. So you can probably guess which album it’s going to be [laughs]. We play the entire set from How the West Was Won. We played “Dancing Days” early on, but we decided to put “Thank You” back into the set. Our arrangement is instantly recognizable but still different from the way Led Zeppelin played it. There are some songs we do pretty straight up, but that’s really how we approach the whole catalog.
What separates Led Zeppelin 2 from other tribute bands?
Most nights when we walk onstage, we have just a general idea of what we’re going to do—and I think that’s part of the reason why Led Zeppelin 2 is so popular. We kind of wing it, in much the same way Zeppelin did it on stage. It’s literally a different show every night, and you never know what’s going to happen.
For more about Led Zeppelin 2, visit ledzeppelin2.com.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.